Fitness Pen Pals


mailThe Fitness Pen Pal program is a great way for a classroom teacher to team up with the school physical education teacher. It makes education fun as children learn to exercise and improve their writing skill simultaneously.

Fitness Pen Pals is also an enjoyable program for parents to do with their children at home! You may want to participate with a neighbor, or a relative that lives a distance away. If you are a creative parent, you can incorporate this program into your home setting easily. In fact, this program is probably easier to develop for a parent at home then a teacher at school, which is why most of the demonstrations here pertain to the school environment.

Generally, when Pen Pals communicate, they share information about their school or environment. For instance, if a child in Maine was writing to a child in Florida, information could be shared about the contrasting types of weather patterns in their area.

Other questions could include:

  • What is your favorite subject?
  • What sports do you like?
  • What are your favorite professional teams?

Now, toss ‘fitness skills’ into the mix. The Pen Pals can still ask the usual questions, but at the end of the letter, the writer must include a realistic fitness challenge. For example, a participant who is a junior in High School may write at the end of their letter, “I challenge you to perform 25 push-ups every day for one week”. The receiver must try to live up to this challenge as best as they can! One standard for this project is that a child may not write another letter (challenge) to their Pen Pal until they receive one in return from their Pen Pal. It must alternate to work out properly!


Find a Participating School

It is important for you to decide who will be participating along with you in this endeavor. If you are a physical educator, you could not possibly monitor the entire school in this event, even if you have the classroom teachers assisting you. It is recommended that you select one or two classes to participate. Use your discretion when making this important decision. You do not want to get over your head with paper work due to mass participation of this project!

For our 'example' on this web site, we will use one 8th grade middle school class to participate in the Fitness Pen Pals program. You need to start to explore the possibilities of attracting another school to partake along with you. For some individuals, this may be a challenge, especially if you would like to find an existing school that is far away from you. This web site will give you four methods on how to find an existing 8th grade class to join in with you from different school. These four procedures can be used at any grade level, not just 8th grade.

Method 1

The Internet Route


You can do an extensive search on the Internet to find another school. Use the terms Middle School, Jr. High School, 8th grade, or Intermediate School for your search. If you look at the example above, we are doing a search for a middle school in Anchorage, Alaska. This will give you a host of examples to chose your partner school. Most schools have their own web sites with all the contact information you may need.

Method 2

The Post Office Path


Suppose your 8th grade class in New Jersey wanted to get a school in Anchorage, Alaska to participate along with you. How can you do this? Here is a technique that worked for me. On a business size envelope, put your return address where it normally goes.

In the deliver to area, write the following :


Under the address sender section, write down the following:


To get a zip code of a town or city, you can just do a search on the Internet. The content of your letter should include information about the Fitness Pen Pals. It will also ask the school you wrote to if they would like to join in. You should include your name, school address and phone for them to contact you with their answer.

Method 3

The Student Teacher / University Circuit


Most major Colleges or Universities have Physical Education Departments. Follow the same procedure as method 2 above. On a business size envelope, put your return address where it normally goes. In the address sender section, write down the following:


Write a letter to the PE department including information about the Fitness Pen Pals. Ask them to pass along this letter to any of their Student Teachers working presently at the middle school level. The letter will ask the Student Teacher’s school if they would like to join your school in the Fitness Pen Pals. You should include your name, school address and phone for them to contact you with their answer.

Method 4

The Friends and Family Route


Simply ask colleagues, families, or friends if they know anybody outside your area that may want to participate in the Fitness Pen Pals. Once you get a lead, make contact with them about the event.

In all four methods, once you finalize the school that will be participating along with you, it is important that you exchange names. Write up class lists and mail them to the cooperating adult at the other school. It is recommended that you use first names along with the last initial for safety reasons.

For example, you would send a list of name to the corresponding school as follows:

Gina P.

Max R.

Evan S.

Loretta C.

Rita S.

.....and so on.

You should send a list that resembles the one above, as well as receiving a similar list for your students. Once you get your list from the other school, write down individual names on an index card with the corresponding address and pass them out to your participants to begin their letter writing campaign.


Since part of this program takes place outside your school or club environment, you must do the best you can to monitor the program. This is for the safety of all involved, as well as making sure everything is done up to code. You will have to talk with your building administrators to go over a plan in regards to the safety of the children.

Here a just a few precautions to add to your list.

  • If a child is going to participate, get a permission slip.
  • Use the school mailing address initially. Since the example on this web page is using only one 8th grade class, you will not be expecting too much mail. The mail should be addressed to the child with a C/O to the teacher.
  • Try to read all outgoing and incoming letters.
  • The teacher should mail the letters once they are examined.
  • Supply examples to the children on what to write.
  • If the child wants to use their home address after a period of time, they must bring in a separate permission slip with the Parents/Guardians approval.
  • Tell the children not to write any unsupervised letters confidentially.